The Forecast 2022

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It has been a tricky couple of years predicting what will happen next. We have all had to get used to living with increased levels of uncertainty. Dates have been added to calendars with the only certainty being that, well, they almost certainly would shift. When we put together the previous issue of The Forecast a year ago, I don’t think many of us thought that whole parts of the globe would still be sequestered away like secret kingdoms some 12 months later.

Somehow, however, we have learned to roll with the challenges, get around the barriers on our paths and, finally, as we prepare for 2022, things do seem a little clearer. Sure, the pandemic is not over but the social anxiety that it triggered has abated. And some of the crazier predictions about what would happen to the world and the ways that we would work and live are at last being revealed as nonsense.

But one thing that has stuck is the discussion around where, and how, people want to live. Look, we’re not buying into the story that our big cities will go into a tailspin of terminal decline because of homeworking but what we do believe is that people want to be in cities that sustain them.

That means places with easy mobility, a good dose of culture, a welcoming embrace for start-ups, access to nature and, crucially, places that know how to let their guard down and have fun. And it’s often easier for more compact places to deliver all of the things on that list. That’s why it’s great to see the Small Cities Index again in The Forecast. This is a survey that we hope will encourage a few people to up sticks for a better way of living and others to challenge their city authorities to raise their game when it comes to urbanism.

We’re not buying into the story that our big cities will go into a tailspin of terminal decline because of homeworking but what we do believe is that people want to be in cities that sustain them.

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